Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan addressed the Nation Review Institute Summit on Saturday morning.
The Summit brought together the nation's top conservative thinkers and writers at a weekend summit aimed at addressing the challenges facing conservatism, and formulating solutions that will strengthen the movement and ensure its vitality well into the future. Here is an excerpt of his remarks:
The vice president’s home is just a few blocks away. And, like you, I’m disappointed. I was looking forward to taking on the big challenges. My kids were looking forward to having a pool.
But there are two ways to respond to defeat: Either you can deny it, or you can learn from it. I choose to learn from it. The way I see it, our defeat is all the more reason to lay out our vision with even more specifics—and with a broader appeal. It will be difficult without a partner in the White House. But I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. I know we can do it.
That said, we have to deal with the fact that President Obama has a second term. That’s the topic of my talk today. A second term will present new challenges to our side—and new opportunities. To take advantage of them, we will need something we occasionally overlook. We will need prudence. I’d like to explain what that is and why we need it.
First, the context: In the president’s first term, we argued against big government in theory. In his second, we will argue against it in practice. Obamacare is no longer just a 2,000-page bill. Now, it’s 13,000 pages of regulations. And it’s growing. This year, the law will restrict our ability to use flexible-spending accounts. It will even raise taxes on life-saving medical devices. And that’s just health care. Now that the president is implementing his agenda, we’ll see that the benefits are far less than advertised.
And the costs? Well, they’re huge. We spend $1 trillion more than we take in each year. And we can’t keep that up. If we stay on this path, we will run the risk of a debt crisis. Our finances will collapse. Our economy will stall. We have to convince the country to change course.
We have to reform entitlements. And, ultimately, we have to revisit the health-care law. Clearly, President Obama doesn’t want us to get that chance. He wants his last two years to look like his first two years. He wants to perpetuate progressive government—for at least a generation—because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. And to do that, he needs to delegitimize the Republican Party—and House Republicans, in particular. He’ll try to divide us with phony emergencies and bogus deals. He’ll try to get us to fight with each other—to question each other’s motives—so we don’t challenge him.
If we play into his hands, we will betray the voters who supported us—and the country we mean to serve. We can’t let that happen. We have to be smart. We have to show prudence.
What do I mean? Well, prudence is good judgment in the art of governing. Abraham Lincoln called it “one of the cardinal virtues.” And it’s our greatest obligation as public servants. We have to find the good in every situation—and choose the best means to achieve it. We have to make decisions anchored in reality—and take responsibility for the consequences. The prudent man is like a captain at sea. He doesn’t curse the wind. He uses it—to reach his destination.
Click on the link below for Congressman Ryan's full remarks.